Vidisha Arora, who is contesting for the post of Vice President, is a Masters Student currently pursuing MA DLB (Diplomacy, Law & Business). She is fighting the Student Council elections on various issues, ranging from reducing staff interference to a Warden Code of Conduct, from academic issues to issues such as having regular fests. But one issue that she raises stands out. It is the issue of giving power to the students. She believes that students do not have enough say in the matters that concern them the most.
This is an excerpt of the interview.
Q 1) You have raised many important issues in your manifesto, such as working of Sexual Harassment Committees (SHC), Disciplinary Committees (DC), etc. What do you think is the most important issue out of all of them?
The most important issue is the number of cases that the SHC is dealing with. The number is too high and the committee is lagging behind to solve these cases. The Student Council cannot interfere in the working of the SHCs, the only thing that the Student Council can do is to keep a check on the progress of the cases, and if a case is not solved, they can take immediate action to get the case done. Then come two policies for SHCs. One is, that the time limit of 3 or 6 months has to be removed. The current policy is that after 3 months of the incident, the affected person cannot file a complaint through SHC. This is not fair to the affected person and I will work on removing this policy. The last policy which I propose for this issue is that the SHC should also take into account the testimony of an anonymous eyewitness. This is my primary concern.
The secondary concern is the issue of Disciplinary Committee. The one thing that I have mentioned in my manifesto is that the faculty has more say in the hearings than the Student Council which is not fair. I believe both the faculty and the Council should have an equal say in the matter. I am not saying that nobody will get a DC, but I can reduce the punishment by representing the student in the council. I will also make sure that a Student Council member is informed beforehand, so that they can help the particular student to draft a reply.
Q 2) These are the issues that you think are most important, but what are the other issues that resonate with voters the most?
Mess food is one very important issue. The problem lies in the menu, people just look at the menu and then decide to eat at food court instead. I want the student body to also be a stakeholder in the process of deciding the menu. There was also a Healthy Mess some years ago which they have closed now which was very good for students who work out and have to take care of their diet.
Transport is also a major concern. According to me, shuttle timings are pretty vague, especially on the weekends. The problem is we do not have enough number of shuttles. I have also raised a proposal called JGU Carpool. This should also be on CollPoll. With JGU Carpool, you can just have a group and get in contact with other students.
Other very important issue is the vending machines for sanitary napkins. Every washroom in Academic Block has one, but none of them work. I have one more proposal that there should be vending machines for sanitary napkins in the girls hostels also.
Q 3) You also mentioned the problem of non-availability of classrooms for JSIA students. Can you explain the problem first, and then explain how you plan to tackle it?
When we try to book a classroom through APCR, they say they do not have any available. Our batch gets group projects almost every week, and we need a classroom to discuss about that. We cannot sir in reading rooms as a certain decorum has to be maintained there. And secondly, we have simulation exercises every now and then, with people from different parts of the world, which includes debates, for which you need a round table, and we are not getting any. This is why I want a permanent room for JSIA students.
Q 4) What is your message for the voters?
The only message that I have for the voters is to not press NOTA. Choose anyone among the two of us, but not NOTA, because NOTA will lead to re-elections, and if there are re-elections, we won’t be able to represent JSIA in the budget meeting and then we will not get a budget for next semester.